The 2019 Minnesota Writing Workshop: March 2, 2019

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2014, 2017, and 2018 events in Minnesota, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2019 Minnesota Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in St. Paul, MN on March 2, 2019.

This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited seats at the event (200 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2019 Minnesota Writing Workshop!

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, March 2, 2019, at the Intercontinental St. Paul Riverfront. In other words, it’s one day full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We’ll discuss your publishing opportunities today, how to write queries & pitches, how to market yourself and your books, what makes an agent/editor stop reading your manuscript, and more. No matter what you’re writing — fiction or nonfiction — the day’s classes will help point you in the right direction. Writers of all genres are welcome.

This event is designed to squeeze as much into one day of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the classes, and get your specific concerns addressed. We will have literary agents onsite to give feedback and take pitches from writers, as well. This year’s agent & editor faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Dawn Frederick (Red Sofa Literary)
  • literary agent Savannah Brooks (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
  • literary agent Kelly Van Sant (Red Sofa Literary)
  • literary agent Mary Cummings (Betsy Amster Literary)
  • literary agent Laura Zats (Red Sofa Literary)
  • literary agent Jennie Goloboy (Donald Maass Literary)
  • literary agent Erik Hane (Red Sofa Literary)
  • literary agent assistant Lynnette Novak (The Seymour Agency)
  • and several more to come.

By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey. This independent event is organized by coordinator Kimiko Nakamura of Writing Day Workshops, with assistance from local Minnesota writing groups.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, March 2, 2019 — at the Intercontinental St. Paul Riverfront, 11 E Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55101. (651)292-1900.

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THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (MARCH 2, 2019):

What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.

Please Note: There will be 2-3 classes/workshops going at all times during the day, so you will have your choice of what class you attend at any time. The final schedule of topics is subject to change, but here is the current layout:

8:30 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location.

BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30

1. An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today. This workshop examines traditional publishing vs. self-publishing / e-publishing.

2. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction. This session will discuss the tips and tricks for making middle grade and YA novels great.

3. The Art and Craft of Memoir. In this session, you’ll learn how to turn your life experience into a compelling narrative that readers will love.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.44.34 AMBLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. The Art of Voice: How to Make Your Writing Come to Life. This class will address what writers should be doing before they submit their work.

2. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters. This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents.

3. How to Self-Publish Your Book Now and Do It Right. A successful self-published author shares the secrets of how to do it right.

(What you see here is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.)

LUNCH ON YOUR OWN: 11:50 – 1:15

Lunch is on your own during these 85 minutes.

BLOCK THREE: 1:15 – 2:30

1. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest. This is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission.
   
2.  Nonfiction Intense: Book Proposal Tips. If you are trying to create an awesome nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you.

3. Picture Book Intensive: Advice on Selling Your Children’s Book. In this session, we’ll discuss questions to consider before sending a picture book manuscript out in the world.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. Talking Fantasy and Science Fiction. This class will discuss the genres of science fiction and fantasy — i.e., how to write and sell speculative fiction.

2. Revision and Self-Editing: How to Tighten Your Work Before You Submit. This session will discuss common manuscript problems as well as tools you can use to create the manuscripts that will get the attention you want from agents and editors—and readers.

3. How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform. This session includes easy-to-understand advice on social media (Twitter, Facebook, more), blogging, and other simple ways you can market your work online.

(What you see here is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.)

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. What Happens After an Agent Offers Representation? Getting an agent is an incredible feat, but this is only the beginning. While your focus may be on getting an agent, this workshop will provide you the landscape on what happens next.

2. Ten Keys to Writing Success. Learn 10 things you can be doing right now that will help get your book(s) published and find success.

3. How to Write & Pitch Romance in Today’s Market. This session will address important topics and tips for writers of romance.

SESSIONS END: 5:00

At 5 p.m., the day is done. Speakers will make themselves available by the workshop’s bookstore for a short while to sign any books for attendees.

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

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PITCH AGENTS AND EDITORS:

Screen shot 2016-05-16 at 5.47.13 PM.pngLaura Zats is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary. Laura seeks young adult fiction (especially contemporary), middle grade contemporary / adventure, adult fantasy and science fiction (loves non-traditional settings, fast-paced storytelling, anthropological elements, and smart humor; no high fantasy), and romance & erotica (especially contemporary; please no vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, or mermaids). Learn more about Laura here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 5.06.41 PM.pngSavannah Brooks is a literary agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. “I represent memoir, adult literary/contemporary fiction, young adult contemporary fiction, and topic-driven and narrative nonfiction (books and essay collections).” Learn more about Savannah here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 10.37.40 AMKelly Van Sant is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary. She says, “I am seeking middle grade, young adult, and very limited women’s fiction across all genres — including fantasy, science fiction, adventure, historical, and contemporary. I love character-driven stories with intricate plots, and am always drawn to explorations of friendship and found family. I am especially interested in #ownvoices, inclusive narratives, and diverse writers.” Learn more about Kelly here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 10.34.58 AMDawn Frederick is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary. In fiction, she seeks young adult and middle grade. In nonfiction, she seeks biograohy, creative/narrative nonfiction, graphic novels, history, humor, pop culture, social issues / current affarirs, sports, women’s narratives, and juvenile nonfiction (MG / YA). She does not seek memoir. Learn more about Dawn here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-13 at 9.10.51 AM.pngMary Cummings is a literary agent at Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises. She represents fiction, literary nonfiction, and poetry for children and teens, from picture books to middle grade and young adult novels, including contemporary and historical, humor, mystery, fantasy, and multicultural. She is particularly seeking middle grade novels as well as picture books with strong story arcs, a spunky central character, and warmth, humor, or quirky charm. In literary nonfiction, her areas of interest include lyrically written science, arts, nature, mindfulness, and social awareness issues. Learn more about Mary here.

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 8.09.55 PM.pngJennie Goloboy is a literary agent with Donald Maass Literary. Jennie is particularly looking for fun, innovative, diverse, and progressive science fiction and fantasy for adults. She thinks that one of the most important jobs of science fiction is to imagine a future we want to live in. Jennie is also looking for nonfiction history for a popular, adult audience. She’s a particular fan of histories of an idea, and narratives about early America. She is not interested in historical novels, or in memoir. Learn more about Jennie here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 10.29.03 AM.pngErik Hane is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary. Erik is looking for the following: literary/upmarket fiction with an emphasis on plot (as in, nothing too slow/quiet/static); popular and academic/trade science nonfiction, especially evolutionary biology; narrative history and biography; contemporary culture criticism (think Klosterman); sports books, if it’s got a scope that extends past just games and players and into culture/larger issues. Learn more about Erik here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 11.43.46 AMLynnette Novak is an agent assistant at The Seymour Agency. She’s seeking fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, romance (contemporary, SF/F romance, romantic comedy), mysteries (traditional, cozy, amateur sleuth), and YA. (Previously, another Seymour Agency assistant, Lesley Sabga, was attending the workshop to take pitches on behalf of the whole agency. Lynnette is taking her place.) Lynnette will also be taking pitches on behalf of all acquiring agents at The Seymour Agency. Here’s what they’re looking for: all romance from inspirational to erotic; all children’s literature, including picture books; self-help, nonfiction, prescriptive, spiritual; mysteries, thrillers, inspirational; history, cookbooks, women’s fiction. Learn more about Lynnette here.

        More 2019 agents to be announced as they are confirmed. You can sign up for pitches at any time, or switch pitches at any time, so long as the agent in question still has appointments open. You can pitch as many agents & editors as like you wish.

These one-on-one meetings are an amazing chance to pitch your book face-to-face with an agent, and get personal, individual feedback on your pitch/concept. If the agent likes your pitch, they’ll request to see part/all of your book — sending you straight past the slush pile. It also gives you an intimate chance to meet with an agent and pick their brain with any questions on your mind.

(Please note that Agent/Editor Pitching is an add-on, separate aspect of the day, for only those who sign up. Spaces are limited for these premium meetings, and pricing/detail is explained below.)

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PRICING:

$189 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2019 MWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of October 24, 2018, registration is now OPEN.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents or editors in attendance. Use this special meeting as a chance to pitch your work and get professional feedback on your pitch. (Spaces limited.) If they wish, attendees are free to sign up for multiple 10-minute pitch sessions at $29/session — pitching multiple individuals, or securing 20 minutes to pitch one person rather than the usual 10. Here are four quick testimonials regarding writers who have signed with literary agents after pitching them at prior Writing Day Workshops events. (Our bigger, growing list of success stories can be seen here.)

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.20.11 AM.png“I signed with my agent, Patricia Nelson, after
meeting her at the Arizona Writing Workshop.”
– writer Axie Oh

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.07.56 AM.png“I officially signed with agent Renee Nyen of KT
Literary. I met her at the Colorado Writing
Workshop.” – writer Jessie Hilb Akos

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.08.00 AM.png“After taking pitches at the Michigan Writing
Workshop, I signed writer Kyle Prue as a new
client.” – literary agent Veronica Park

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.08.09 AM.png“After taking pitches at the Alabama Writing
Workshop, I met Erin Hollis at a pitch session, and
she is now my newest client.” – agent Julie Gwinn

Add $69 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from Chuck Sambuchino, a longtime editor for Writer’s Digest Books and one of the workshop’s former instructors. (This rate is a special event value for Minnesota Writing Workshop attendees only.) Registrants are encouraged to take advantage of the specially-priced critique, so they can send out their query letter with confidence following the workshop. Also, if you are meeting with an agent at the event, you’re essentially speaking your query letter aloud to them. Wouldn’t it be wise to give that query letter (i.e., your pitch) one great edit before that meeting?

Add $89 — for an in-depth personal critique of the first 10 double-spaced pages of your novel. Spaces with faculty for these critiques are very limited, and participating attendees get an in-person meeting at the workshop. Options:

  • Forthcoming.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Kimiko Nakamura via email: wdwcoordinator@gmail.com, and she will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by either PayPal or check. Because Kimiko plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Minnesota workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

Because of limited space at the Intercontinental Downtown Riverfront, the workshop can only allow 200 registrants, unless spacing issues change. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.

Are spaces still available? Yes, we still have spaces available. We will announce RIGHT HERE, at this point on this web page, when all spaces are taken. If you do not see a note right here saying how all spaces are booked, then yes, we still have room, and you are encouraged to register.

How to Register: The easy first step is simply to reach out to 2019 workshop organizer Kimiko Nakamura via email: wdwcoordinator@gmail.com. She will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check. Once payment is complete, you will have a reserved seat at the event. The MWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Kimiko plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Minnesota workshop specifically.

Refunds: If you sign up for the event and have to cancel for any reason at any time, you will receive 50% of your total payment back [sent by check or PayPal]. The other 50% is nonrefundable and will not be returned, and helps the workshop ensure that only those truly interested in the limited spacing sign up for the event. (Please note that query editing payments and manuscript editing payments are completely non-refundable if the instructor has already edited your work.)

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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Savannah Brooks of the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 5.05.03 PM.pngSavannah Brooks is a literary agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency.

“I represent memoir, adult literary/contemporary fiction, young adult contemporary fiction, and topic-driven and narrative nonfiction (books and essay collections).”

Savannah is an MFA candidate at Hamline University, focusing in creative nonfiction, as well as an editor at Red Bird Chapbooks, a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center, and a reader for multiple literary magazines. Her own creative work has been publishing in Hobart, Lime Hawk, and Every Writer’s Resource, among others. When not immersed in the world of words, she can be found on her bike, at a dive bar, or lounging at one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary

dawn-1313Red Sofa Literary is the celebration of the quirky, eclectic ideas in our exciting literary community.  Realizing that the best ideas come via engaging conversations and over good coffee, while sometimes relaxing in a colorful lounger.

Established by literary agent Dawn Frederick, previously of Sebastian Literary Agency,  she brings a broad knowledge of the book business to the table—with multiple years of experience as a bookseller in the independent, chain, and specialty stores; sales, marketing, & book development at a YA publisher, a published nonfiction author, and an agent associate literary agent at Sebastian Literary Agency in 2002 (before Red Sofa Literary was established).

In addition to her literary agent duties, she extensively volunteers with her local library system, while still finding time to spend quality time on her “wheels.”

She carries a B.S. in Human Ecology, and a M.S. in Information Sciences from an ALA accredited institution.  “Not only do I know what people like to read and are currently  reading;  I also have the experience of  working one-on-one with authors, book distribution centers, and literary organizations.”

Dawn Frederick’s Representative Categories:

  • Young Adult – Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Middle Grade – Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Biography — Historical, media-related, political—no personal memoirs
  • Creative Nonfiction — It needs to be smart, with noticeable platform, and highly commercial.
  • Graphic Novels — No manga please.
  • History – Books that will engage the commerical reader.  ex: Michael Beschloss
  • Humor – I loved The Zombie Survival Guide, How to be a Villain, and Yiddish with Dick and Jane.
  • Pop Culture – Especially Americana, and anything quirky
  • Social Issues/Current Affairs—Women’s Studies, GLTB Studies, Social Sciences, and more.
  • Sports — Less mainstream, more extreme sport, ex: Roller Derby
  • Women’s Narratives – chicklit nonfiction, Latina, African-American, and more.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kelly Van Sant of Red Sofa Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 10.37.40 AMKelly Van Sant is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary. She seeks middle grade, young adult, and women’s fiction.

In her own words:

“I am seeking Middle Grade, Young Adult, and very limited women’s fiction across all genres, including fantasy, science fiction, adventure, historical, and contemporary. I love character-driven stories with intricate plots, and am always drawn to explorations of friendship and found family. I am especially interested in #ownvoices, inclusive narratives, and diverse writers. I’ve expanded on my interests within each category below.

“Middle Grade – I am seeking Upper MG only. Chapter books or early readers are not for me. My ideal middle grade needs to be whimsical, funny, and full of adventure. My tastes lean away from contemporary in this genre, and more toward fantasy, speculative, science-fiction, or magical realism. I like intricate world-building and MCs with gumption. Give me a quest, give me steadfast friendships, give me insightful, magical parallels with the real world, and make me laugh. No books with an educational thrust; I want to have fun!

“Young Adult – I dearly love fantasy, science-fiction, speculative, and other magical elements in YA stories. Even better if mixed and matched with other genres. Alternate universes, fictional worlds, your very own hometown with a secret or sinister twist. If the world-building is original and intricate, if you’re either dismantling existing tropes or executing them exceptionally well, if your characters are complex and come alive on the page then what are you waiting for? Send me your query.

“Let’s talk about romance in YA. I prefer romance in my YA to be an undercurrent (even an urgent one) but not the main point. Something needs to be going on in universe and in your characters’ lives beyond their love story. Instant love is not for me; I appreciate when characters grow together over the course of a book. Attraction can happen instantly, but intimacy takes time.

“I am selective about YA contemporary. A strong voice is vital, and again, I love to see a complex web of relationships beyond just romantic (though romance can be included): especially friendships and family relationships. These books above all else must absolutely be character-driven. I appreciate books that explore questions of identity, and books with a darker edge, but books firmly centered on and driven by a single issue–abuse, suicide, drug use, mental illness, rape–are not for me. I welcome books whose characters are grappling with those same issues, if those things are woven into the character and are undercurrents of a different, main plot. But I am not the right agent to represent so-called Issue Books. I would love to see some lighter YA contemporaries. Something that balances between poignant and funny, with a compelling, flawed protagonist and an authentic, accessible voice.

“Women’s Fiction – I’m seeking women’s fiction on a very limited basis. I want books written for and by women, about women’s lives and experiences and issues (women’s lives are complicated and varied and extend well beyond bad marriages/relationships! Please send me something fresh). Prose matters to me here, but as always, the characters are paramount. I’m interested in genre-blends, but straight-up contemporaries should be new and nuanced to catch me eye. No books about dead or dying children, please.

“I am NOT seeking picture books, poetry, or non-fiction at this time.

“I do not represent previously published books, whether self-published or put out by a small press. Please only query/pitch me with new work.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Laura Zats of Red Sofa Literary

Screen shot 2016-05-16 at 5.47.13 PM.pngLaura Zats is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary.

Laura seeks young adult fiction, especially contemporary, middle grade contemporary/adventure, adult fantasy and science fiction (loves non-traditional settings, fast-paced storytelling, anthropological elements, and smart humor; no high fantasy) romance and erotica (especially contemporary; please no vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, or mermaids).

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jennie Goloboy of Donald Maass Literary

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 8.09.50 PM.pngLiterary agent Jennie Goloboy joined the Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2017. Before that, she was an agent at Red Sofa Literary for six years.

She has a PhD in the History of American Civilization from Harvard, and published a book based on her dissertation, Charleston and the Emergence of Middle-Class Culture in the Revolutionary Era, in 2016.

She is seeking:

Jennie is particularly looking for fun, innovative, diverse, and progressive science fiction and fantasy for adults. She thinks that one of the most important jobs of science fiction is to imagine a future we want to live in.

As a fan of character-driven novels, she wants to be desperate to know what happens to your hero by the time she’s finished your writing sample. Romance and humor are always a plus. If your book combines an oddball premise with a compelling protagonist, she wants to read it. Adorable body horror? Quirky intentional communities? Please send them on!

Jennie is also looking for nonfiction history for a popular, adult audience. She’s a particular fan of histories of an idea, and narratives about early America. She is not interested in historical novels, or in memoir.

Get to Know an Agency Assistant in Attendance: Lynnette Novak of The Seymour Agency

Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 11.43.46 AM.png[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Lynnette Novak is an agent assistant at The Seymour Agency and is actively building her list.

She’s seeking fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, romance (contemporary, SF/F romance, romantic comedy), mysteries (traditional, cozy, amateur sleuth), and YA.

(Previously, another Seymour Agency assistant, Lesley Sabga, was attending the workshop to take pitches on behalf of the whole agency. Lynnette is taking her place.)

She will also be taking pitches on behalf of all acquiring agents at The Seymour Agency. Here’s what they’re looking for:

Lizzie Poteet — looking for all romance from inspirational to erotic

Jennifer Wills — all children’s literature, including picture books

Tina Wainscott — self-help, nonfiction, prescriptive, spiritual

Julie Gwinn — all romance, mysteries, thrillers, inspirational

Nicole Resciniti — romance, YA, MG, SF/F, thrillers, mysteries, cozies, history, cookbooks, women’s fiction

Lesley Sabga — adult/YA: SF/F, suspense/thriller and romance

Prior to joining The Seymour Agency, Lynnette spent seventeen years freelance editing. She worked with new writers, advanced writers, as well as New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. Lynnette earned a bachelor of education degree from the University of Manitoba, where she specialized in English and French. She excelled in Advanced Creative Writing in university and studied writing for children and teens through the Institute of Children’s Literature. She was a Pitch Wars mentor in 2015 and 2016. Both her mentees acquired an agent. Lynnette has since closed her editing business and is excited to bring her passion for the written word to agenting as she builds her client list.

Although Lynnette was born and raised Manitoba, Canada, she now lives in Minnesota with her husband, twin girls, and many pets. Her personal interests include reading, writing, exercising at the gym (okay, that’s a love/hate relationship), working on an assortment of crafts, all things having to do with animals (if she could own a farm, zoo, and animal shelter, she would), and enjoying time with family and friends.

She loves dark and suspenseful, mysterious twists, unique worlds, light and funny, a good love story, and lots of voice.